« PreviousContinue »
Robin,” which indorsed the Roosevelt protest and echoed the appeal for an immediate removal of the army. The confused and careless officials at Washington were stirred to action at once, and the army was hastened home.
The Rough Riders were landed at Montauk Point, on Long Island, New York. Roosevelt, who had gone
forth as second in command of a regiment, returned now as the commander of a brigade. He had lost twenty pounds, but he reported himself in “first-class health."
The nation rang with applause at the homecoming of the Rough Riders and their leader, now a popular idol for the first time in his career. Reporters swarmed about the camp at Montauk Point, visitors from all over the country crowded the trains that went there, and doctors and nurses and supplies were rushed to the hospital. The doors of some of the most spacious summer houses on the island were opened in welcome to the sick troopers. The period of the encampment was a continual triumph for Colonel Roosevelt and his famous regiment.
The troopers who had been left behind in Florida were brought north and reunited with their comrades. This meeting, and the healing breezes from the ocean, quickly revived the spirits of the warriors. Lively times followed. One of the troopers of the regular army had a bucking horse, and some of the Rough Riders jeered at his failure to master the beast. A challenge ensued, and the next day the regiments turned out and crowded in front of Colonel Roosevelt's headquarters. There one of his men mounted and rode the horse through his wildest capers.
The colonel rose at the end of the chaplain's sermon one Sunday and gave the men a talk. He warned them that, although they would be hailed as heroes when they were mustered out, they would find that this would last not more than ten days. Then they would learn that they had to go to work like
every one else.
The Rough Riders' favorite theme of praise was their colonel. “Why, he knows every man in the regiment,” they would tell their callers. “He was always as ready to listen to a private as to a major-general.” “He has spent $5000 of his own money on us.” They were never happier than when they gave him a little surprise party at Montauk Point. He was called out, and found the regiment in a hollow square ready to present him with a bronze statue of “The Bronco Buster.” Trooper Murphy made the speech because, as he said, it was well known that the colonel's heart always had been with the privates, who loved him as deeply as men could love men. The tanned faces streamed with tears, and Colonel Roosevelt replied in a voice shaken with emotion, assuring them that “outside of my own immediate family I shall always feel that stronger ties exist between you and me than exist between me and any one else on earth.” Every man was rewarded with a shake of the hand by his grateful commander.
The last night in camp was given over to a great celebration. The Rough Riders sang, and college boys and cowboys joined in a wild dance. The Indians took the lead in howling, grunting rings as they went bounding around the big fires, which had been kindled on the parade ground.
The troopers parted with regrets. Friendships that were to endure had been made across social lines impassable in any other country. A plainsman accepted a pressing invitation to pass a few days with his bunkie, a New York youth of fastidious instincts, and arrived at his host's with no other baggage than an umbrella. No doubt this child of the wilderness thought that to carry an umbrella was the height of social agony, and he never dreamed of such effeminacies as pajamas and collars.
McGinty, the bronco buster, promised to visit his captain, Woodbury Kane. As soon as he was discharged from the hospital he set out to accept the invitation. Ignoring such unfamiliar conveniences as elevated and surface cars and public cabs, he hired a horse and began his search in the wilderness of New York. When he found Captain Kane's ranch on Fifth Avenue, he hitched his horse to a lamp-post and strolled in.
Cherokee Bill was overcome by the charms of a girl from Hoboken. They were married, and then Bill failed to find anything in his line to do. Colonel Roosevelt shipped the pair out to Indian Territory. The same fairy of the cowboys found a railroad job for Happy Jack. A friend of Colonel Roosevelt, a New York multi-millionaire, placed a generous sum of money in his hands for the assistance of the men until they could get employment. Most of them, , however, refused to accept any of it. They had rustled before and they were ready to rustle again.
GOVERNOR AND VICE-PRESIDENT
He is sought out by the New York bosses to save the Republican
party of the state from wreck at the polls. - September 27, 1898, nominated for Governor. — He wins in an exciting campaign. — November 8, elected Governor. — January 2, 1899, inaugurated as Governor. - Slowly and shrewdly makes himself the master at Albany. - Veteran politicians dazed by his skill in handling men. Characteristic methods of pushing a bill through the Legislature. – Wall Street and the machine plan to "bury him" in the Vice-Presidency. - He fights against the movement, but, in the end, accepts his party's call. — June 21, 1900, nominated for Vice-President. A great speaking campaign. - November 6, McKinley and Roosevelt triumphantly elected.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT, the reformer, could be ignored with safety by the political bosses. But Theodore Roosevelt, the Rough Rider, must be reckoned with. The admiring eye of the nation was upon him, and the American people would have delighted to do him
honor. Every war in the past had brought forth popular favorites. Washington had first won the public confidence in the War of the Revolution, Andrew Jackson and William Henry Harrison in the War